I'm sure by now, holiday shopping is in full swing for most of you. Personally, I went a little nuts on the Black Friday deals, but I still have so many people to buy for! Is it just me, or does the list grow every year? It's crazy.
As we head into the weekend and we're all thinking about the gifts we still need to cross off our list, I wanted to encourage you to think about shopping Small Businesses when making your purchases. I'll be honest - it's still about 50/50 for me (I can't help it, Target I LOVE YOU!), but I've made a special effort to find meaningful gifts from Etsy, craft and vendor fairs, and local shops over the past few years.
Here's why you should give it a shot, too:
1. It Makes a Difference.
When you shop from a small business, you're supporting the owner directly. There may be some employees depending on the size of your chosen shop, but for the most part, you are supporting the very person that created the item you're purchasing (which is especially true of Etsy, Craft Vendors, and other online shops.) And chances are, there's not a whole lot of hidden mark up for the sake of waving sales in your face the way department stores do. You are paying for the materials used, the labor it took them to create it, and the shipping they were charged to send it to you. And that's probably it! That money will likely go to someone who really needs it, or that has a big, brave dream. I don't know about you, but those are the people I want to support!
2. This is Their Busy Season.
I have my own teeny-tiny Etsy shop, and holiday shopping accounts for 90% of my yearly sales. I have maybe 3-4 orders from January - September. And then they fly in for about 2.5 glorious months. Those sales end up covering the costs of materials, shop fees, shipping necessities, and everything else it costs me to run my shop all year. Any penny extra goes into Christmas gifts for my family. Your holiday shopping helps my family in a direct way, and I'm willing to bet that is the case for most shop owners out there!
3. Handmade is Art.
When you shop from a handmade business, you're purchasing art. Maybe you don't consider a crocheted scarf or a handcrafted card to be art (it's not something obvious like a painting, or a framed photo, after all). But guess what - it is. We are all capable of creating in different ways, and everything we create is our own personal art. My husband's art is brewing his own beer. My son's art is rainbow colored people with rectangle torsos. My mother-in-law's art is knitting sweaters for each of her Grandchildren, and my Dad's is cooking unique, gourmet food for his loved ones. Our creations are our personal art, and that makes anything we make the art of ourselves. Isn't that a beautiful thing to gift?
4. You'll Find Unique Ideas For the Person Who Has Everything.
I'm sure you have 1-2 people on your list every year (maybe more!) that already have everything or has the funds to go out and purchase something they want, whenever they want to. Those people are usually Grandparents, and they are SO HARD to shop for! My husband and I are always scratching our heads over his parents, and 9 times out of 10 we solve our problem by searching Etsy for something. And you know what? They LOVE it! They appreciate the special things you can't just run in and pick up at Target because they are few-of-a-kind and hold a special value that something mass-produced can't contain!
5. Small Biz Gifts Stand Out.
One sobering thought I have every year is how my kids end up losing or forgetting about some of the toys they HAD TO HAVE at Christmas by the time the next one rolls around. How many other items can you think of that the same sort of thing happens to? Almost everything I've purchased as a gift from Etsy is still a prominent feature in the homes of the recipient. Their uniqueness, and sometimes personalization depending on the item, makes them so important and special to whoever received them. I love that about shopping handmade! Maybe it's even just that your gift is new and different and exciting - but regardless, small biz gifts leave an impact!
If you don't know where to start, I'd love to share some of my favorite shops with you! Feel free to send me an email (at rychinlove(at)gmail.com) letting me know what sort of items you're looking for or who you need to find a gift for, and I will do my very best!
One good place to start? I made a gift giving guide this week that's peppered with some of my favorite small businesses (though Target & Amazon make an appearance, too), and maybe you can get some ideas from there.
Jenn is a mom of 3 boys from Buffalo, NY. Find her blogging at Rych In Love where she writes about her family, crafts, goal setting, home decor, recipes, holidays, books, and MUCH more! Her shop, Love Forward, can be found on Etsy.
Thanks Jenn! And now it's your turn! Link up your Friday Five post below, and be sure to visit a few others in the hop and leave them a comment!